Dell EMC Tackles Unstructured Data With New Isilon, ECS Offerings

Dell EMC is responding to the massive increase in customers' unstructured data with an all-flash configuration of its Isilon scale-out NAS offering and a major update to its Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) object storage cloud technology.

While typical storage offerings address structured data, about 80 percent of customers' data is unstructured, said Sam Grocott, senior vice president of marketing and product management on the emerging technology team at Dell EMC.

Dell EMC is approaching that unstructured data in two ways.

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The first is an update to its Isilon scale-out NAS offering for unstructured data from workloads like big data, media and entertainment, life sciences, and electronic design and automation.

Grocott told CRN that Dell EMC is marrying its Isilon OneFS software stack to Dell all-flash blade-based hardware to manage up to 100 petabytes of unstructured data across 400-plus nodes with 1.5 TB per second of bandwidth.

More importantly, he said, the offering retains all the functionality and data services of the Isilon platform. "In flash storage, people like to talk speeds and feeds," he said. "But we believe in the long run the software is more important."

Keith Odom, vice president of technology solutions at RoundTower Technologies, a Cincinnati-based solution provider, said maintaining Isilon's traditional capabilities is key.

"I've seen a lot of architecture updates where functionality is lost and then brought back later," Odom said. "With this, none of Isilon's data services or protocols change. We're not losing anything. I'm pretty happy about that."

Dell EMC's second new option for handling unstructured data is Elastic Cloud Storage 3.0, which customers can use to build private storage clouds with all the functionality of Amazon Web Services, said Varun Chhabra, director of product marketing for Dell EMC's emerging technology team.

ECS 3.0, which Chhabra told CRN costs about 60 percent less than public clouds over three years, now features governance and compliance capabilities, including advanced data management functions.

ECS 3.0 also features a new dedicated cloud service, which provides a single-tenant cloud owned by the customer but hosted in a Virtustream data center and managed by Dell EMC.

Also new is a Dell server hardware base, new high-density object storage hardware, and integration with Dell EMC's Data Domain data protection solution.

Odom said his company had recently started with ECS, but that the new version, which can use Virtustream for a dispersed environment while offering a cost-effective alternative to tape, is what he needs to expand beyond a few niche opportunities.

"It's always nice to have more opportunities," he said.